How to Handle Yourself When Your Car Breaks Down on Memorial Day Weekend!


Sometimes reality and our expectations don't match up. What can you do to avoid loosing it when this happens?

We were driving 11 hours from Houston to Branson for our kids to attend the incredible Christian camp, Kanakuk. The drive had been easy, apparently too easy, as we exited I 540 to hit highway 71 toward Branson in Fayetteville, Arkansas. As I exited, our van suddenly skipped out of Drive and seemed to slip into Neutral and the RPM’s roared out of control! I’m no where near a car expert, but I even knew something horrible had happened to the engine or transmission.

Our expectations were to hit Branson at around 6pm, barbecue with my family, and then have a couple of days in Branson to play before going to camp. These plans were instantly changed as we sat in a parking lot trying to get a hold of a transmission repair guy. Now I want (need) to be honest at this point, so with full disclosure, my attitude stunk big time! I snapped at my wife, my children, and some poor woman driving in front of me completely clueless to why I was honking at her to get moving through the light before the van died again.

The question is, why did I get upset and snap at my family and a random female driver? Because reality and my expectations were too far a part. Is it bad to have expectations? No, not necessarily. But how are we to handle ourselves when our expectations are not met? That is the key to a healthy relationship.

It is unrealistic to think our expectations are always going to be met, because they will not. Instead of blowing up at my family and a random female driver, I could have done the following:

Taken a time-out

This is easily the best thing we can do when our expectations are not met. We need time to gather ourselves and to begin the process of choosing the best reaction possible. If you do not take the time to think about your reactions, your reactions will most likely be hurtful and immature (i.e. honking at a random female driver). A time-out gives you perspective and also gives time for the Holy Spirit to give you guidance in how you could respond.

Adjusted my expectations on the fly

The moment I realized that my expectations were not going to be met, I could have begun the process of adjusting my expectations. I could have realized that getting to Branson on Friday was no longer possible, so how could I make the best out of the current situation. Asking yourself the question, “How can I make the best out of this situation?” is a great way to adjust expectations.


I know, prayer always seems to be the answer, but guess what, it always is the answer! I think the evil one wants us to feel like mentioning prayer is trivial, but it is not, and should always be utilized when things get out-of-hand. I could have cried out to God in my moment of need and let the Holy Spirit do the job the Holy Spirit does, to influence and guide me through the fog of unmet expectations.

Karen Stubbs
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Randy Alcorn
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Pastor Rick Warren
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Pastor Rick Warren
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Jeff Schreve
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